PhDr. Přemysl Červenka

* 1922

  • „ We were asked as a school to prepare such a small mourning ceremony within the ROH. I was assigned by my director to prepare the mourning frame of the hall. I created a cenotaph there with a picture of the president. My director was supposed to give a speech there, but then at the last minute at noon he asked me that he wasn't feeling well and that I should give the speech. I basically used the obituary article in Red Law. So I gave a speech there, but in a way I felt it. Because I was a big supporter of Beneš as President Masaryk's successor, I ended my speech with this oath: 'President Beneš, we will remain faithful to the legacy you left us.'" - "So you added that to that article from the Red Law?" – “Completely spontaneously. It only appeared in 1989, when I was handed personnel materials, so these traces appeared there. Throughout my professional development, I have been marked as a supporter of Masaryk and Beneš and their politics, and I have been labelled as an unreliable, vacillating intellectual who has critical comments on party policy, and I have never been entrusted with even the smallest position in the Communist Party. All along I was a rank-and-file communist.“

  • „ ​​At that time, an association of states of the socialist camp was formed within the Council of the Mutual Economic Commission. I have already explained these opinions of mine. I took the creation of the RVHP as a completely logical response to the creation of a similar association of Western countries. In the beginning it was the European Economic Commission, which later grew. These were four states, but later it grew into a group of large countries cooperating in Europe. I took it as a logical retaliatory move by the Soviet Union. What I didn't like about it: I got a position, I was accepted into the subcommittee for machine tools of the permanent engineering commission of the RVHP. Its aim was to jointly study the development of the conjuncture in the whole world and to exchange opinions about it and to prevent mutual competition, since most of the countries of the CEEC also had their own production of machine tools. That work was connected with a whole series of foreign trips to all member countries. It was initially seven countries including Albania. Albania dropped out, so there were six members. There I consolidated my knowledge of German and French, so that I then interpreted for all three language groups as well as cabinet translation during discussions. I was very compliant with it at first, I thought it was a very good thing, but then I found out that the knowledge from our meetings, instead of being used, was being misused. Specifically, directly in Strojimport. No one, not even the CEO, who attended and signed the final minutes of those meetings, made any changes, but he was interested in how they assessed the situation on the markets, and how other machine tool manufacturers reacted to it. In other words, even our company was abusing rather than using this knowledge.“

  • „ That pamphlet of the Central Committee of Lessons from ("Crisis") Development, I took it as a collection of half-truths. That's when I realised that some phenomena can really be judged from two sides: one winner and the other victim. And here the half-truths were given unequivocally that it was so. And it wasn't like that. No reason was given. Why was that? So I took it negatively. I took the whole pamphlet negatively. I expected the Central Committee to issue, as promised, a final analysis of this period, an honest analysis, but that never happened. There was a period, it was part of the normalisation at the very beginning, when the exchange of party ID cards was announced and it was connected with background checks. Those checks had a clear theme: to find out if I agree or disagree with the occupation, if I take it as brotherly aid, as it was presented, or as an act of violence. I clearly took it as an act of violence and a huge mistake by Brezhnev, which means the end of the socialist movement in the whole world, which has been proven. I guessed that very correctly.“

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Praha, 22.01.2022

    duration: 02:23:16
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
  • 2

    V Praze, 27.01.2022

    duration: 01:11:36
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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I stayed true to myself and I’m quite proud of it

Přemysl Červenka in 1953
Přemysl Červenka in 1953
photo: witness’s archive

Přemysl Červenka was born on December 29, 1922 in Hodonín to the family of the official Kamil Červenka and his wife Anna. His father died soon after, and he was raised by Albín Vinkler, a teacher, musician and painter, for the rest of his life. After graduating from high school and industrial school in Brno, he was fully deployed during the war. In the first post-war elections, the family voted for the Communist Party and later joined the party - out of gratitude to the Red Army. Přemysl wanted to study medicine, but in the next three years he became a teacher of apprentices, first in Letovice and then in Gottwaldov. He showed talent and interest in working with youth and decided to study pedagogy and psychology with a specialisation in youth education at university. He studied remotely, at that time he was employed successively in three ministries: the Ministry of Workforce, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Foreign Trade as a clerk. Dissatisfied with the way the union was run, he moved to Strojimport, a foreign trade company. As he was able to work in several foreign languages, he became a referent for the cooperation of the RVHP countries in the field of machine tools and was sent to the RVHP countries for work. He was a capable expert, the business needed him, but he refused to declare during political background checks in 1970 that the entry of Warsaw Pact troops was friendly aid. He was kicked out of the party, was unemployed for several months, and finally managed to find a job at Technoplyn. After ten years, as a pensioner, he moved to Waterworks and Metrostav. He worked in various manual and clerical positions until he was 90 years old. Since 2016, he has been living in a home for the elderly in Prague.